If Your Doctor Prescribes Watermelon in a Hot Tub, Ask to See a License

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Thirty days in jail and three years of probation is the fairly light sentence for Yevgeniy Vasin, who pleaded no contest Friday to two counts of what the SF Chronicle called "masquerading as a doctor."

The term "masquerading" doesn't actually appear in any California statute, to my mild surprise, so probably he was charged with violating the law against impersonating anyone for fraudulent purposes.

Watermelon.There is no requirement that this impersonation be any good, and this one wasn't. In the first case, Vasin seems to have misdiagnosed multiple sclerosis as Lyme disease, and in the second, he said a connective-tissue disorder was lupus. For all I know, that second one might be a difficult diagnosis to make, but his suggested treatment probably should have raised an eyebrow, because according to the district attorney, Vasin "convinced [his "lupus" patient] that to help her kidneys, she needed to eat watermelon in a hot tub."

In a hot tub. Based on the word "convinced," I assume she actually did this, and that it did not help.

The MS sufferer later died, and her children were the ones who called police. Although Vasin was not charged with contributing to her death, he was charged with fraudulent impersonation for charging her $300 an hour while pretending to be a doctor. Vasin did not in fact have a medical degree, although he had apparently received some "brief training in his native Ukraine."

If "watermelon in a hot tub" is an accepted form of treatment in Ukrainian medical circles, I'd be interested to know how it's believed to work.